I'm finally watching the whole first season of Survivor. I had started watching it when it aired on tv but only got to the episode where they ate a rat before quitting. It just didn't catch my interest at the time. It sure has been eye-opening! For one thing, Jeff is so much younger and not nearly as commanding and polished as he becomes in later seasons. So many of the things that we take for granted on future seasons, such as forming alliances, were brand new back then. There's only one alliance through most of the show so votes go every which way at tribal council. There may be 6 different people who get a vote. The individual immunity idol is called a talisman.
Jeff also seems more involved with the contestants on a personal level. At one challenge, everyone is sitting on a pier with their feet in the water, including Jeff, while he gives the instructions about how the challenge will work. Two contestants have a bbq for the reward and Jeff is there with them, serving up the food!
I have to hand it to Richard Hatch. He is cool as a cucumber throughout the whole season and seems to have a good read on people. There were two times he was close to being voted out but he managed to make it through. I definitely think he deserved the win.
It must be exciting to be the contestants on that season. That didn't know at the time how historic the show would become and that it would continue on this many seasons later. I credit Survivor for ushering in the age of reality tv. It was the first big one I remember and many other reality shows that came after it used it as a guide for their show.